It is amazing sometimes how one verse in scripture can create such a vivid picture in your head that almost haunts you.
I have been reading through the book of Amos. It is not cheerful reading until the final few verses when I guess Amos comes to the conclusion that if God doesn’t finish on a word of hope, people will simply be crushed beneath heavy words of judgement.
The verse that hit me isn’t in the last few verses, but Amos 9: 5 – “The Lord, the LORD Almighty, he who touches the earth and it melts, and all who live in it mourn.”
Once upon a time, in the Garden of Eden, God used to touch the earth. He used to encounter Adam in the cool of the day and I am sure that there were no tears, or no mourning. There was friendship and intimacy and communion. Once Adam and Eve had tasted the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, all that fellowship went. It wasn’t in an instant. God was still a part of their lives, but as the generations come and went, it got harder to remember what it felt like. It got harder to maintain any kind of relationship with God because it no longer came naturally.
I have never really spent time with ex-boyfriends. There are very few of them to begin with. I am not entirely sure how it would all go. It probably wouldn’t be an issue since I am very happily married, and I might not have been is the ex and I had stayed together.
Imagine though if the only effect that you have now on someone you used to love, and who used to love you, is them bursting into tears when you enter the room. The joy that you used to share together has been replaced with sadness. Maybe you realise that neither of you are complete without the other and that without that completeness you will never be truly happy. Maybe you have left enough time for them to look for happiness elsewhere, knowing that one day they will turn back to you. Maybe you begin to realize that as each day passes, they remember less of what life was like with you. They don’t know what it is they should be returning to.
God used to touch the earth and there would be joy. Now he touches the earth and it mourns. Who would not want things back the way they used to be, if it were in their power? And yet the way things were was not really good enough. Who would not want some kind of plan to make sure that what had happened the last time, wouldn’t happen all over again?
Christmas is about God touching the earth again. Nothing melts this time and there is no mourning. This time he touches flesh to flesh – no mystery, no majesty – just flesh. Immanuel.